Metro

Camille Cosby seeking to delay deposition while appeal is pending in Bill Cosby lawsuit

Bill Cosby and his wife Camille were at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts before Bill Cosby received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in Washington in 2009.

Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press/File

Bill Cosby and his wife Camille were at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts before Bill Cosby received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in Washington in 2009.

Lawyers for Camille Cosby, wife of embattled comedian Bill Cosby, on Monday continued their efforts to prevent attorneys for seven of his alleged sexual assault victims from deposing her in a Springfield lawsuit.

In a 12-page motion, Camille Cosby’s lawyers asked a federal judge to delay her deposition, scheduled for Wednesday, until her appeal of a ruling ordering her to testify is resolved.

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Her attorneys wrote that “without a stay of her deposition, both Mrs. Cosby’s privacy and freedom will be put at issue in a case to which she is not a party, and for which she is not alleged to have any personal, first-hand knowledge.”

The motion continued, “Plaintiffs have threatened using the US Marshals to secure Mrs. Cosby’s attendance at the Jan. 6, 2016, deposition, rather than working with Mrs. Cosby to afford this court a proper opportunity to review the underlying issues . . . that may be presented on appeal.”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs declined to comment on Monday.

The women allege that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them decades ago and then defamed them in the press when they went forward with their claims more recently.

Camille Cosby’s motion to delay the deposition comes after her husband was charged last week in Pennsylvania with sexually assaulting a woman there in 2004.

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Bill Cosby has denied all allegations through his attorneys.

On Thursday, Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy rejected Camille Cosby’s motion to block the subpoena for her deposition in the Springfield lawsuit, writing that “(1) the allegations underlying this matter, which implicate . . . [Bill Cosby’s] sexual history and . . . (2) Mrs. Cosby’s dual role as defendant’s wife and business manager, render it at least plausible that Mrs. Cosby” has information relevant to the case.

Hennessy also said a rule barring spouses from testifying about private marital conversations applies to trial testimony but not testimony during pretrial depositions, court records show.

Camille Cosby’s lawyers wrote Monday that no “Massachusetts state case, nor any federal case, has ever so interpreted the rule.”

Her legal team also included an e-mail that Joseph Cammarata, an attorney for the plaintiffs, sent Friday in which he threatened to seek permission from a judge to have US marshals bring Camille Cosby to the deposition by force if she does not voluntarily attend.

“Any such failure to appear will leave us no choice but to enforce her appearance, on the date of the deposition, by whatever legally appropriate means are available to us, including . . . obtaining the assistance of the US Marshal to secure her attendance,” Cammarata wrote to a lawyer for the Cosbys.

Attorneys on both sides have waged a bitter war of words in court filings over Camille Cosby’s deposition.

In their initial motion to quash the subpoena, lawyers for the Cosbys described the bid to compel her testimony as “nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to pressure [Bill Cosby] in the face of subjecting his wife to the shame and embarrassment of responding to questions about his alleged infidelities and sexual misconduct.”

The plaintiffs’ lawyers swiftly fired back, responding in court papers that “there is likely no single person, other than Mr. Cosby himself, who has more knowledge of Mr. Cosby’s sexual proclivities and encounters (consensual and nonconsensual), as well as his use of Quaaludes and other sedatives, than Mrs. Cosby.”

Many of Cosby’s accusers contend that he drugged them before sexually assaulting them.

In a related matter, a hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled for Thursday, when a judge will hear oral arguments on Cosby’s motions to seal certain pretrial discovery information in the case and to compel the depositions of the plaintiffs.

Bill Cosby, 78, has filed a countersuit in the same courthouse against the seven women, claiming they defamed him with false allegations.

In addition to the seven plaintiffs, an eighth woman, Kathy McKee, a Las Vegas-based actress and casting executive, filed a suit against Cosby in Springfield last month. She brought similar allegations that he raped her and later defamed her, when his attorney branded her a liar in the press. Cosby’s lawyers have not responded to McKee’s civil filing.

Trial dates in the lawsuits, which were brought in Springfield in part because the Cosbys own a home in Shelburne Falls, have not been set.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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